When Wendy Dean suffered a heart attack, her personal health was not her only concern. Because she was only 35-years-old, she had good reason to worry about her two young daughters.So one year later, she decided to have the girls' cholesterol levels tested. "I took them because they were high risk," said Dean, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. "I wondered about their cholesterol immediately." The results justified Dean's concern: Her daughter Becca, who was 10, had a total cholesterol level of 213 mg/dL. Her other daughter, Sarah, 7, had a total cholesterol level of 187 mg/dL. According to the American Heart Association's Web site, the acceptable total cholesterol level for children ages 2 to 19 is 170 mg/dL or lower. Parents don't generally worry about their young children having heart attacks, but high cholesterol in children is actually very common. And if kids with high cholesterol do not change their lifestyles, they could be at risk for a host of problems later in life.
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